Gaza woman with baby
Gaza woman with baby Israel news photo: Flash 90

Media watchdog groups have criticized Canada's CBC for wrongly implying that Israel's policy vis-a-vis Gaza has led to unusually high infant mortality. In a June 1 report, CBC correspondent Peter Mansbridge spoke of the closure of Israel's Gaza borders and stated that Gaza currently has “an infant mortality rate among the highest in the world.”

Not only is Gaza's infant mortality rate not among the highest in the world, it's actually lower than that of many Middle Eastern countries, political commentor Barry Rubin noted in his blog. Infant mortality is significantly lower in Gaza (17.71 per 1,000 live births) than in Iran (34.7), Turkey (24.8), Libya (20.87), Iraq (43.16), and Egypt (26.2), and only slightly higher than that of Jordan (17.03), Syria (16.14), and Lebanon (16.4).

Accurate information on mortality in Gaza and elsewhere is easily available from the CIA World Factbook, published online, Rubin noted.

In response to an inquiry from the watchdog group Honest Reporting, a CBC editor said Mansbridge's statement was “an error.” The station rejected charges that the statement reflected anti-Israel bias.

A CBS anchor later read a correction, which stated that Gaza's infant mortality rate is actually ranked 109 out of 224 countries and regions worldwide.

Honest Reporting expressed satisfaction with the correction, but at the same time, was concerned by what CBC did not say. “There was no indication given about how this error had occurred... what was the source of this original erroneous information?” the organization asked on its blog. The group also wished to know why the CBC referred to Gaza, Judea and Samaria as “Palestine” despite the fact that no such country exists.